A safe pilot will always be aware of his/her personal condition, skills, and attitudes prior to climbing into the cockpit. But that awareness doesn’t stop there. In fact if you take a look at FAR 91.103, Preflight action, you’ll see that every pilot in command is required to be fully familiar with all available information about their intended flight. This includes alternate airports with appropriate runway length for your aircraft, and the weather expected at those alternates along your planned route of flight.
For your convenience, FAR sec 91.103 is presented below:
Federal Aviation Regulations
Sec. 91.103 — Preflight action.
Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include—
(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;
(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:
(1) For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein;
(2) For civil aircraft other than those specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other reliable information appropriate to the aircraft, relating to aircraft performance under expected values of airport elevation and runway slope, aircraft gross weight, and wind and temperature.
Wise aviators will always do a thorough preflight on themselves and their aircraft, but they also do a detailed preflight on their proposed flight. Practicing this helps them to be prepared for unusual situations that could arise like mechanical malfunctions, unexpected weather anomalies and more. They always make safety their number one priority.
So as the nights get longer and the days get cooler, why not curl up with a good book…OK the FAR’s, and review them. You’ll be happy you did as you begin planning for your next flight or flying season!